In Focus

Torquator Tasso: an outstanding German horse with an Italian name

The 80-1 shot upset the bookies with a stunning run at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

It has to be one of the biggest upsets in the 101-year-history of Europe’s most famous horse race, said Greg Wood in The Guardian. At the start of this year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, few punters gave Torquator Tasso – named after the 16th century Italian poet – the slightest hope of scooping the £2.5m first prize. 

In one of the strongest Arcs for several years, the German-trained colt, ridden by Arc debutant Rene Piechulek, was a 69-1 shot on the French Tote – and 80-1 with British bookmakers. And for the great majority of the race, there was no sign that the bookmakers were due a surprise, said BBC Sport.

With less than a furlong to go, it looked to be a two-way race between “well-fancied rivals Tarnawa and Hurricane Lane”. But then came one of those “what the hell’s that” moments, said Brough Scott in The Times. Appearing unexpectedly on the outside, Torquator Tasso made a spectacular dash to the line. He “drove into the lead just 50 metres out”, and finished three-quarters of a length clear.

The result was met with stunned silence in the grandstand – but perhaps it shouldn’t have been. As Torquator Tasso’s trainer, Marcel Weiss, pointed out, German horses have often done well at the Arc – with Star Appeal having pulled off an even more spectacular victory in 1975, winning at starting odds of 119-1.

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